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AJ McKee vs. Roberto de Souza Betting Analysis and Prediction

In the final MMA event of 2022, there will be a historic cross-promotion event with RIZIN FF combining with Bellator MMA to put on a great show.

Some of the best fighters from both organizations are matched up with each other on December 31st. 

McKee vs de Souza is the main event of the evening between two high-level martial artists from completely different backgrounds. This kind of event is what makes MMA so great. 

Last Fight Record

McKee is coming off his first fight at his new weight division, beating Spike Carlyle by unanimous decision in October. 

De Souza is riding a 5-fight winning streak in RIZIN, coming off of an incredible reverse triangle armbar submission over Johnny Case in April. 

Matchup Info

  • Date: Saturday, 31, 2022
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan
  • Live: Paramount+

McKee vs. de Souza Betting Analysis

AJ McKee Analysis

McKee has turned himself into one of the biggest stars in Bellator MMA. His move to the lightweight division does even more for his stardom as he looks to hold the Bellator belt in two different weight classes. 

He is a solid all-around fighter, with six TKO/KO and seven submission victories. McKee is 19-1 and has 13 finishes, showing that he fights to find a finish consistently. At only 27 years old, he has shown a lot of heart and skill that seems to prove that he will be at the top of the game.

McKee has ten first-round finishes in his career; he can get the fight going early on. He also has gone the distance on seven different occasions, holding a record of 6-1 when the fight goes to the scorecards. 

Roberto de Souza Analysis

Roberto de Souza is a world-class grappler from Brazil. His submission victories in MMA account for over 70% of his career wins, which is clearly the focus of his offensive fighting game plan. He has ten total submissions in MMA.

Along with McKee, de Souza likes to finish opponents quickly. He still holds the RIZIN lightweight record for fastest finish dating back to 2014 when he finished Doo Jae Jung in 1:05. He also has 4 TKO/KO victories, which means he has finished every single one of his 14 career wins in MMA. 

De Souza’s only loss was a TKO loss 1:15 into the first round against Johnny Case. Case is a very good veteran martial artist with a lot of power in his hands. They met again this year, and de Souza finished him in the first round. 


McKee plans on “not letting de Souza lean on his jiu-jitsu” in their matchup on Saturday. 

AJ McKee vs. Roberto de Souza Betting Preview

When we make a McKee vs de Souza betting preview for this event, it is tough to find a lot of betting lines at major sportsbooks. This event is sadly not very big on the promotion side of things in the United States, where sportsbooks have grown exponentially. 

According to Bellator odds, McKee is the slight -190 favorite in this matchup over de Souza. This keeps McKee’s streak alive of never being the betting underdog in any of his Bellator fights. This will be the closest odds for his fight since his first meeting with Patricio Pitbull in 2021. 

Where De Souza will be the underdog in his second straight fight; he was a slight underdog earlier this year against Case, whom he beat in the first round. 

De Souza is the unknown fighter of the two going into this one, but after looking at his footage from RIZIN over the last few years, he looks like a world-class fighter.

His striking continues to get better every time he steps in the ring, but his grappling is what jumps out as a superior skill set of his.

De Souza can hurt McKee on the feet if he catches him, but his wild style of grappling will be the biggest issue for McKee on Saturday. De Souza will jump at any opportunity where his opponent has a limb ready to be grabbed. Then once de Souza gets a hold of you, it seems impossible to get away. 

AJ McKee vs. Roberto de Souza Betting Prediction

So, This event is so interesting because it is a common theme of conversation in the MMA community, discussing what promotions are the best. It seems to be okay to call RIZIN the Bellator of Asia. They are a big and successful promotion, but maybe not as mainstream as a company like ONE. 

The AJ McKee will have more trouble in this bout than some might expect. He will need to be ready to scramble out of some bad positions on the ground, especially if they fight inside the RIZIN cage in front of a Japanese crowd. This might be a major “home field”: advantage for de Souza on Saturday. 

The final McKee vs de Souza prediction is for McKee to get the job done, though. He will be too dynamic in every area of the fight to lose this one. His power will most likely hurt de Souza early in the fight. 

This could go the distance and be an awesome war, or it is easy to see McKee getting a first-round KO. He is a special fighter and seems to appear in big moments like this. He can feed off the energy of the Japanese crowd.

The McKee moneyline is the best bet for this one. Make sure to check your local sportsbook for the lines, as it seems like not every major sportsbook is offering lines for this event. 

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